I spent a bit of time with Javier Alfonso, the owner and winemaker at Pomum Cellars, at this year's Taste Washington event in March and his wines seemed to strike a chord with me.
But I'll be honest with you. I tried them toward the end of the event, when one is often suspended somewhere between a state of enjoyment, wine fatigue and a slight buzz. Even so, his wines stood out enough for me to make a mental note to give them second try later.
After taking another opportunity to retaste in a more controlled environment, Alfonso's wines not only confirmed my favorable first impression, they stamped it with an exclamation point.
Alfonso hails from a notable wine region in Spain, the Ribera del Duero. He moved to the United States in 1995 and has family ties in the heart of Washington wine country in Yakima Valley.
Along with winemaking duties, he and his wife, Shylah, own and operate the winery, which includes a tasting room in Woodinville that's open noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays, or by appointment with prior arrangements.
Here are my tasting notes on the winery's current releases:
2011 Riesling (about $16) - This is a leaner, meaner riesling than you're probably used to, with flavors of green melon and lemon grass. The off-dry finish is brisk and snappy, with notes of slate and minerality that resemble a sauvignon blanc. Refreshingly different.
2010 Red Wine (about $20) - This cabernet-based, six-varietal combination shows a lot of red currant, pomegranate and pie cherry flavors, and a borderline edgy finish with bright acidity.
2010 Tinto Tempranillo (about $25) - Every facet of this wine is subtle and restrained, yet well-defined. A little smokiness, a little dark berry and leather, a little chewy tannin, and a little spicy pepper on the finish all come together perfectly. Need a wine to pair with a Rudy's bacon and mushroom pizza? This is it.
2009 Syrah (about $32) - Fruit-forward yet balanced, this mind-numbing syrah explodes with ultra-dark Ligurian cherry and black plum flavors. The plush, lengthy finish caps off a stunning, must-try wine.
2008 Shya Red (about $38) - A bit uneventful for starters, but if you aerate the heck out of this Bordeaux blend, it really blossoms. Boysenberry, plum and luscious red cherry flavors stand out, with a dusting of chalky tannins.
Pomum Cellars wines are available locally at Purple Smile Wines and the newly opened Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants, 19 Prospect Street.
Dan Radil is a wine enthusiast who lives in Bellingham. Reach him at www.danthewineguy.com.
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